Monday, June 30, 2008

Another Year

I've had mixed feelings about getting older this year. Usually it's fun and exciting and the 30's are the new 20's blah, blah, blah, but I feel like I'm at the point that I'd gladly trade my soul to be six years younger, still having the same experiences, and of course, still having Andy and Calvin. I've thought about it a lot lately, so I was very surprised when today turned out to be the perfect birthday.

We got up early and Andy went to cook me breakfast, but I asked if he would mind just getting us some good cereal. When my family came in December I bought half a dozen over-sized boxes of cereal that were never eaten, so for the past 7 months we've been eating stale shredded wheat and raisin bran. Today my yogurt Cheerios with banana slices were the best cereal I'd ever tasted.

Luckily, Andy wasn't traveling today so we were able to spend a lot of time together, we went out to eat at Sweetwater (yummy chocolate waffles), took a nap, and ended the day playing the Wii and watching a chic flick.
Calvin and I were ready to head out the door for Sweetwater when Andy snapped a picture.

My sister Ruthie had balloons delivered to my door. She had given me a present in Utah at my early party, but wanted me to have something special for today. I love balloons. They always make things seem happy and festive.

My stash. Andy's parents sent me a bluetooth mouse which is fabulous with my new laptop, Andy gave me a bluetooth headset and Wii Fit (which is awesome - like in Yoga when they keep saying "keep your center of balance" and you're like, what does that even mean? well this literally shows you when you're keeping it and not, so you know exactly how it's supposed to feel. It weighs you, tells you your BMI, sets up an exercise plan, everything), and I got misc. gift cards and movies from my family.

Calvin tangled up in a mess of balloons.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Family Photos

My sister Mariah was nice enough to do some family photos for us. We went to a beautiful park on a hot day and had a good time fighting a wiggling Calvin while trying to avoid getting other people in the background (all while posing and sucking in, wondering how much longer it's going to take me to lose the stupid baby belly and why I stole my mom's lipstick when it was just too bright for the occasion). After we got the pictures back, we decided we should try again on a day when the sun is not so bright to avoid the glare and squinty eyes. All in all I think we had some turn out well, and I really appreciate Riah's help. In the end Curtis (her husband) came over to entertain Calvin from behind Riah's head, so the last half turned out much better than the first. Here are some of my favorites...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Study in Diapers

I've never thought much about diapers besides that they're expensive, bad for the environment, and that I'm extremely grateful for them. I remember my mom painstakingly rinsing cloth diapers when I was little, and that's definitely not my thing. I have learned two very important lessons about diapers in the last couple of weeks.

1- Diapers are VERY absorbent. In fact, they will keep soaking up moisture until they explode and release slippery little white balls of gel all over your swimming pool, deck, and child. Swimmers (waterproof diapers you can buy for kids to swim in) seem unnecessary until you have some such experience and realize that there is a reason to pay the $20 for 8 stupid blue diapers with Nemo on the front.

2- With that said, however, I have learned that Swimmers also have their flaws. They are very nonabsorbent, obviously so they don't soak up the entire pool. Unfortunately, while playing in the grandparent's pool, we learned the hard way that they really don't soak up enough. We picked up Calvin in his little Swimmer and it left a trail of clumpy yellow sauce all over me, Andy, all of our towels, and in a squiggly line through the middle of the pool.

I've learned to use things as they are designed. Now I know not to put regular diapers in the pool, and to tell the kid to wait to do any monkey business until after he's done swimming. These are some shots from today.

Regular Diaper
Wet diaper that weighs about 30 pounds - can you tell the difference? Calvin can't even sit up when it's this full. Pretty funny to watch.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

He Has New Tricks

Calvin has started doing two exciting things this week. He has learned to pull himself into a standing position and lean on something for support, and he has learned to sit himself up (he has been able to sit for a long time if we put him in that position, but now he can get there himself).

His favorite spot in the house lately is by a window where he can sit and look outside. Today he looked cute, so I tried to get a few shots without him noticing me. He of course saw the flash and turned around to pose. I know this is too many pictures of the same thing, but I think he is adorable, so I put a lot of them.

Pictures from Yesterday

Here are some pictures of yesterday at the pool, Calvin chasing the dog, and Calvin playing with grandma. He loved the attention he received all day by his doting grandparents.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

2nd Anniversary

Today is our second wedding anniversary. Time goes so fast and so slow all at the same time. Andy's parents were kind enough to babysit for us so we could go out on a real date. We all went out to lunch and to the pool, and then we came home and left them behind while Andy and I went to Melting Pot. I'm usually all about the chocolate fondue at the end, but they have this new Caribbean spin on the main course that stole the show this time. He also gave me a gift of box seat Les Miserables tickets for August. I'm VERY excited!

We were watching The Soup the other night and they cameoed a reporter named Harry Balzer (his real name) who was talking about hot dogs. Andy slapped his knees and laughed like a 12 year old. Of course there are times like this that I wonder how we ever got together, but most of the time I adore him so completely I can't imagine life without him. I guess that's what marriage is all about. Being driven batty crazy by the man who hurts your head and makes you happy all at the same time. Andy, thanks for two great years. You are the best decision I've ever made.

Trout Pond Campground

Andy always talks about going camping, so for his Father's Day gift, I thought it would be fun to make reservations somewhere. I ended up booking us at a little campground in George Washington National Forest, about 2 hours away in West Virgina. The roads to get there were kind of scary and isolated - we felt like we were walking into The Hills Have Eyes or Deliverance - but we managed to make it there safely. The campground was small and clean, and we were excited to be there.

We had only been there for a a couple of minutes when a truck with a beat up RV attached and a grill tied to the back with a crazy assortment of twines and rope to keep it from tipping over entered, followed by two beat up cars. I realize that stereotypes are evil and should be avoided at all costs, but after a dozen people piled out - all of the men crazy-skinny with sleeveless t-shirts, beards, and huge belt buckles, all of the women and girls were extremely obese, sporting tight stretch pants and greasy hair along with 5 smaller kids who were all loud and unkempt, not to mention two massive poodles -I knew we were in trouble. They ended up being the most obnoxious neighbors I could have imagined. They zipped up and down our drive yelling at each other, one of the creepy guys stared at us the entire day (Andy kept wondering if the psycho was checking out me, him, or Calvin. We really couldn't tell), and then the girls talked and laughed loudly until about 1am, before the kids getting up and yelling again at 6am. They were a nightmare. We ended up leaving earlier than anticipated because they would wake Calvin up every few minutes with their noise and we couldn't imagine willingly spending another sleepless night there.

Besides the hokies from hell, we did have some fun. Here are the highlights:

Trout Pond:

Calvin was so excited about all of the water. We didn't want to go in because it had a nasty smell and this group of kids had the following conversation:
"Armando, I'm peeing all over you!"
"I don't care, I already peed on you!"
"We're all peeing on each other!"
Ewww. Every mothering instinct told me not to let my kid in the water.

We couldn't keep him still. He kept trying to throw himself in, so we finally gave in and took his clothes off. He was watching the other kids longingly, like he wanted to go play with them. We need to get this kid a sibling. He's too social to always be alone.

The Tent:
Calvin loved the tent. He thought the little enclosure and all the fluffy bedding was the greatest thing ever.We had hotdogs, smores, and lots of fun around the fire. The night ended on a great note. (Before we tried to sleep.) Calvin may still be a bit young, be we had a good time and will try it again soon.

Luray Caverns

So after a night of no sleep, and a not so promising day full of 17 years-olds cackling loudly and kids zipping up and down the drive of our campsite on their bikes and scooters, we decided we would leave the utopia of Trout River behind us a day early. I have always wanted to go to Luray Caverns (they always have ads on tv and the radio), so Andy googled it on his Treo and we were less than 30 minutes away. We decided to head there instead, so we packed up camp and arrived there first thing this morning. As we were leaving, there was a long line out the door, so we were grateful the Griswalds had woken us up early enough to beat the crowds.

Me and Calvin posing in front of the sign. He was just glad to be out of the car.

This was called Dream Lake and was one of the neatest things we saw (sorry it's a bad picture). It's a bunch of stalactites over a pool of water that's only a foot deep, but it reflects the overhead rock so it looks like they're coming from the floor as well. Very cool.

My two boys.

A wishing well that they drain every year and give the coins to charity - so far totaling $750,000. I threw in a nickel and made a wish.

Calvin had fun and kept trying to touch everything in sight. He kept jumping from me to Andy to the stroller. I think he just liked whoever was giving him the most action at the moment.

They found the bones of a 20-ish Indian girl at the bottom of the cave. The theory was that she had originally discovered the cave, but then they decided it would have been an intact skeleton instead of a broken one. Now they believe she was buried and her grave fell into a sink hole and hit the floor of the cave, breaking into pieces. Just thought it was interesting.

These formations were in National Geographics because they're the most well-formed "drapes" in any cave that has ever been discovered.

This was amazing. Somehow they discovered that the formations had different pitches when hit by a little hammer, so they rigged up an organ that taps different stalactites when different notes are hit. They played A Mighty Fortress is Our God. The rocks had perfect pitch.

Skyline Drive

To finish up the day, we drove home via Skyline Drive, the best view of the Blue Ridge mountains and the Shenandoah valley. It is beautiful country and while we were disappointed that we didn't see a bear, we enjoyed all of the deer, squirrels, chipmunks, flowers, and trees. It was a nice way to end our outdoor experience.

A pretty view of Shenandoah Valley.

A group of bikers stopped to take a break and talk about the bear that they almost hit on the road, and Calvin loved their big loud bikes. He kept trying to sneak away and walk over to them.

Taking a break from all that driving.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Today is my parent's 33rd anniversary. Pretty impressive. Tonight I asked Andy if he would be sad if I left him. He said, "no, I'd be angry. And I'd find you." Sigh. Sometimes 33 years seems completely unattainable. Congratulations Mom and Dad!


Today I had a brunch for some old friends from work. One of them has been living in Spain, and while she was back for a month, we all decided to get together and catch up. I think the food turned out well, and everyone seemed to have a good time. It was really fun to see everyone and it made me miss work. Just a little bit.

Speaking the other day of my good friend Herr Eric Carle, Sarah brought Calvin a present today. A set of Eric Carle books called All Around Us. He loves them already.

My friend Tara brought a beautiful tin of Campanulas that I can enjoy inside for a few weeks, and then plant outside. Perennials are the gift that keeps on giving.

I'm annoyed that I forgot to take pictures while everyone was here, so you just get the pre-party table. We had hashbrown casserole, bananas foster french toast, chocolate zucchini bread, and a mint amaretto melon salad. Oh yeah, and don't forget the bacon. Delicious.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Enjoying a Good Book

Eric Carle has always been one of my favorite children's authors because his stories are simple yet interesting, and his illustrations are funky and unorthodox. Just before Calvin was born, I was roaming Barnes & Noble when I found some small Eric Carle board books, so I bought several of them with the baby in mind.

I have started reading to Calvin more often since I quit work, and he seems to really enjoy the pictures and listening to the sound of me reading, even if he doesn't understand the stories yet. His favorite book at the moment is Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar - a book about a caterpillar who eats through dozens of fruits and sweets before becoming a butterfly, and each picture of the food item has a hole through it where the caterpillar has chewed its way out. Calvin loves it because his tiny pointer finger fits perfectly in the hole as we count the bites together. He thinks it's so wonderful that this book was made specifically for his mini fingers. Reading with him has become a favorite time for both of us, and I'm glad the world has so many fun books for him to discover. He's destined to love reading, just like his parents.